Oooh, shiny. Ray tracing is coming to Diablo 4 March 26

Diablo 4 with ray tracing and DLSS3
(Image credit: Blizzard / Nvidia)

As promised in Nvidia's CES 'Special Address' ray tracing is coming to Diablo 4 this month, and it's just been announced that's happening on March 26th. So, should you require any further incentive to dip back into the game, it ought to look a little prettier once that patch has launched. So long as your GPU has the ray tracing chops to cope with the extra load, that is.

You are only getting a pair of new ray traced lighting effects in the update: ray traced reflections and ray traced shadows. So it shouldn't be as demanding as some full fledged ray tracing everywhere all at once mode, and with DLSS 3 being in the game already you should at least have some mitigation for the extra pretties now being dropped into Diablo 4

In terms of specifics, Nvidia has been rather scant with details, though it has said today that "armour, water, windows, and other suitably reflective surfaces will now feature accurate, realistic ray-traced reflections and ray-traced transparent reflections."

While regarding the spookier effects of shadows... "the many shadows of Diablo IV will be enhanced with ray tracing, adding extra detail to all scenes." 

I will say that my initial reaction to that is maybe my delicate sensibilities don't necessarily want that extra detail in some scenes, but it does all look very pretty. And Diablo 4 was already a pretty game. Y'know, in that rather gruesome, what-the-hell-is-that-sprouting-from-that-pile-of-gore kinda way. 

Nvidia showed off the twin lighting effects at the CES event, and you can see what a difference they make below:

For me, I think it's probably the shadow effects that are going to be the most noticeable, and have the biggest visual impact on your game. Devs have become very good at faking reflections to the point that you sometimes really have to look to see where ray traced reflections make a difference. 

Sure, in the rain-slicked, neon-soaked streets of Cyberpunk 2077 it's obvious, but in the brooding environs of Diablo 4 it's the shadows which will more obviously bring the gameworld to life. Shudder.

I know it's not cool to have your head turned by added pretties, but the way Diablo 4 looks with this update, and the fact it's on Steam now, I'm sorely tempted to dig back into the game again.

Dave James
Managing Editor, Hardware

Dave has been gaming since the days of Zaxxon and Lady Bug on the Colecovision, and code books for the Commodore Vic 20 (Death Race 2000!). He built his first gaming PC at the tender age of 16, and finally finished bug-fixing the Cyrix-based system around a year later. When he dropped it out of the window. He first started writing for Official PlayStation Magazine and Xbox World many decades ago, then moved onto PC Format full-time, then PC Gamer, TechRadar, and T3 among others. Now he's back, writing about the nightmarish graphics card market, CPUs with more cores than sense, gaming laptops hotter than the sun, and SSDs more capacious than a Cybertruck.